News centre

Coronavirus update: INZ's response Updated Saturday, 15 February 2020 at 2.00 pm

The New Zealand Government has extended the travel restrictions into New Zealand for all foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting, mainland China to assist with the containment of the novel coronavirus.

Any foreign travellers who have been present in, or transited through, mainland China in the previous 14 days will be refused entry to New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand’s Beijing office remains temporarily closed. 

Latest INZ response to Coronavirus — updated 15 February at 2.00 pm PDF 860KB

We understand visa applicants and current visa holders may have some questions about their specific circumstances. Below is some information that may address your concerns. These will be updated as more information becomes available.

Situation summary

In January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed a new type of coronavirus. The New Zealand Government is closely monitoring the situation.  

The New Zealand Government made the decision on 2 February 2020 that any foreign travellers who have left or transited through mainland China after 2 February 2020 will be denied boarding or refused entry to New Zealand. This measure includes all of China, but not Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, and not Taiwan.

This decision to deny boarding or refuse entry does not apply to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, residents with valid travel conditions and their immediate family, who will still be able to come to New Zealand. Australian citizens and permanent residents are also not subject to the travel restrictions if New Zealand is their primary place of established residence.

On Saturday 15 February, the Government extended the travel restrictions for a further eight days until Monday 24 February 2020. The restrictions apply to any foreign travellers who have been present in, or transited through, mainland China in the past 14 days. This decision will be reviewed every 48 hours and the Government will decide on or before 24 February whether the travel restrictions need to remain in place.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is working with other government agencies to ensure a whole-of-government approach is being taken to manage this evolving situation.

INZ’s Beijing office remains temporarily closed.

There will be some impact on visa processing times as a result. However, INZ remains committed to minimising the impact on processing times as much as possible.

We understand visa applicants and current visa holders may have some questions about their specific circumstances. Below is some information that may address your concerns. These will be updated as more information becomes available.

General information for travellers

How long is the travel restriction in place for?

The travel restriction will be in place until Monday 24 February 2020 at this stage. This will be reviewed every 48 hours.

When will I be able to travel to New Zealand again?

Individuals who have left or transited mainland China within the previous 14 days will not be able to travel to New Zealand until the restrictions are lifted by the New Zealand Government.

If I am flying from London to New Zealand via China, only stopping in the transit lounge, will the travel restrictions still apply?

Yes, they apply to passengers transiting as well.

If I stay outside of China for more than 14 days can I then travel to New Zealand?

Yes.

Are there any countries I cannot spend the 14 days in after being in China?

At this stage no, there are no restrictions on other countries.

When do the 14 days start from?

The 14 days is prior to boarding your plane or cruise liner to New Zealand, so if you were boarding at 4:00pm on Wednesday 19 February 2020, you would have had to have been outside of China since 4:00pm on Wednesday 5 February 2020.

What is included in “mainland China”?

Mainland China includes all of China, but not Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, and not Taiwan.

Can immediate family on temporary visas travel with a New Zealand citizen or resident? 

New Zealand citizens and residents returning to New Zealand will still be able to enter, as will their immediate family members, but they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival back in New Zealand.

Can immediate family members travel by themselves or do they need to be travelling with the New Zealand citizen or resident?

Immediate family members who are not New Zealand citizens or residents must be travelling together on the same flight to New Zealand as the family member who is a New Zealand citizen or resident. They must also have a valid visa or NZeTA as appropriate.

Who is included in “immediate family”?

Immediate family includes partner/spouse, legal guardian and dependent child under the age of 24.

Are residents subject to the travel restrictions? Or can they still travel like permanent residents?

Residents with valid travel conditions will be able to travel to New Zealand. Residents with expired travel conditions will be subject to the travel restrictions and will be denied boarding or refused entry. However, individuals in this situation may be able to apply to have their resident visa travel conditions reinstated.

Do the travel restrictions apply to Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents?

Australian citizens and permanent residents are excluded from the travel restrictions if New Zealand is their primary place of established residence. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in New Zealand.

 Are air crew affected by the travel restrictions?

Air crew are exempt from the travel restrictions.

Does the air crew PPE requirement apply only to flights originating from mainland China or all flights that have crew who have been in China within the past 14 days?

Information about the PPE requirement for air crew can be found at

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) — Advice to airline crew | Ministry of Health

Information for all visa holders

I am in New Zealand on a visa that is about to expire, but I can’t go back to my home country due to the travel restrictions.

We are sympathetic to individuals who are currently in New Zealand and are unable to return to their home country due to the coronavirus outbreak and current travel restrictions. INZ is currently looking at options to facilitate these individuals. We encourage anyone in this situation to contact INZ to discuss their options.

However in the meantime, individuals who are currently in New Zealand are able to apply for a further visa, which will be assessed on a case by case basis against immigration instructions, taking into account the current coronavirus outbreak and any relevant travel restrictions.

I have been granted a visa but I am no longer able to travel to New Zealand because I left or transited mainland China within the past 14 days.

Individuals in this situation will be refused entry to New Zealand and will not be able to travel until the restrictions are lifted by the New Zealand Government.

Can I get a refund for my visa if I’m not able to travel to New Zealand due to the travel restrictions?

Individuals who have already been approved a visa but are no longer able to come to New Zealand are not able to get a refund. INZ notes that the majority of Chinese travellers are granted a multiple-entry visitor visa for up to a maximum of five years.

I have applied for a visa but can no longer travel to New Zealand as originally planned due to the travel restrictions. Can I withdraw my application and get a refund?

Applicants who have applied for a visa who no longer wish to, or cannot, travel to New Zealand are able to withdraw their application by contacting INZ. INZ is urgently looking at options around refunds for individuals whose visa application has not yet been decided and are impacted by the travel restrictions.

I arrived from China recently (within the last 14 days) and want to apply for a further visa / remain in New Zealand for longer. I need an immigration medical in order to do that. What should I do?

Do not attend a panel physician for an immigration medical screening until your 14 day self-isolation period is over. Self-isolation guidelines can be found on the Ministry of Health website. If you experience any Coronavirus symptoms (e.g. fever, wheezing, etc) contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) immediately.

Novel coronavirus — Self-isolation | Ministry of Health

Information for student visa holders

I have been approved for a student visa but am unable to arrive in New Zealand by the “first entry before” date on my visa due to travel restrictions. Do I need to apply for a new student visa in this situation?

If you are a student affected by the travel restrictions, and you hold a student visa with a “first entry before date”, INZ will automatically amend your visa conditions to allow you to travel for the duration of your visa. You will receive a reissued eVisa from INZ and you will not be charged for this.

What happens to my attendance records if I am in quarantine or self-isolating once I’ve arrived in New Zealand? 

Immigration instructions require that you attend your programme of study at all times as required, unless there are genuine reasons for absence. If you are following New Zealand Ministry of Health guidelines for self-isolation contact your education provider urgently. If they agree, they will update your attendance record to clearly note that your absence is due to genuine circumstances.  

I have more questions about my specific circumstances. Who can I talk to?

Student visa holders or applicants who have more questions should contact INZ about their situation. Individuals who have specific questions about their study plans should contact their education provider. INZ will be providing education providers with more detailed information as the situation evolves.

Information for cruise ships and maritime vessels

Will cruise ship passengers be allowed to enter New Zealand if they have been in mainland China in the last 14 days?

Cruise liners are required by law to ask passengers to declare whether they have been in mainland China in the last 14 days. Any passengers who have been in mainland China in the previous 14 days will not be permitted to board. In addition, cruise liners have implemented their own screening measures to protect their passengers and crew which align to the new requirements.

Are cruise ship crew included in the travel restrictions?

No, cruise crew are exempt from the travel restrictions.

Are commercial ship crew included in the travel restrictions?

No, crew on board commercial vessels are exempt from the travel restrictions.

How will unwell marine crew and passengers be managed?

If a passenger or crew member becomes unwell and docks at a New Zealand port, the Ministry of Health will be notified and will manage their care.

Visa processing times

When will there be an update on the impact on visa processing times as a result of the temporary closure of INZ’s Beijing office?

This is a rapidly evolving situation. We are working through the impacts on the processing of visas as a result of the temporary closure of INZ’s Beijing office. INZ is committed to minimising the impact on processing times as much as possible. We will keep stakeholders and visa applicants regularly updated.

For more information

New Zealand government statement related to coronavirus:

Statement by Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

If you are in New Zealand the Ministry of Health is the best source of information about the Coronavirus:

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) | Ministry of Health

Ministry of Health

If you are outside of New Zealand the best source is the World Health Organization (WHO):

Emergency preparedness, response

WHO Twitter account

Advice for international travel

Contact us

For specific coronavirus related immigration queries, contact the Immigration Contact Centre on 0508 225 288 (within NZ) or +64 9 952 1679 (outside NZ).